cover image Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan

Gene Wolfe. Tor, $25.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-250-24236-5

With this wily, witty work, SFWA Grand Master Wolfe (1931–2019) takes readers on a final trip to the far future world of 2015’s A Borrowed Man, in which clones of long-dead writers can be borrowed from the library. Ern A. Smithe, a library clone of a deceased mystery author, is on loan to little girl Chandra Fevre and her bedridden mother, Adah, who hope for his help in deciphering a treasure map and recovering Chandra’s missing father, Dr. Fevre. Smithe, together with the clones of a cookbook author and a romance writer, moves into their haunted mansion, plans an expedition to follow the map to the mysterious Cadaver Island, and succeeds in bringing home Dr. Fevre, a scientist with grandiose dreams. But all is not as it seems, and soon Smithe has to solve Fevre’s murder. This devious, often difficult series ender pushes its Gothic aesthetic to an extreme until the plot becomes a surreal fever dream. Throughout, Wolfe raises questions about the agency of the clones, challenging whether Smithe is really any less human than his borrowers. It’s a sardonic view of human relationships on offer, leavened with a droll, punny narrative voice. Complex and clever, this last offering from Wolfe is sure to please sci-fi readers. (June)